What is the offence of Assaulting a police officer occasioning actual bodily harm?
The offence of Assaulting a police officer occasioning actual bodily harm is found at section 60 of the Crimes Act 1900.
The offence of Assaulting a police officer occasioning actual bodily harm is a serious one that our solicitors have often successfully defended. To give yourself the best chance of beating this particular charge, the police will usually need to be discredited. This can be achieved by obtaining CCTV of the incident (this offence often occurs in public), subpoenaing police notes and entries to establish inconsistencies in the police case, and by pointing out differences in the evidence of different police officers. If the police have acted improperly or illegally – for example they assaulted you first or had no legal basis to arrest you – then evidence of a subsequent assault by you may be excluded and the charge dismissed.
If you are charged with the offence of Assaulting a police officer occasioning actual bodily harm, your options will normally be to plead guilty or not guilty.
Pleading not guilty
You will be found not guilty of the offence of Assaulting a police officer occasioning actual bodily harm if the police cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt:
- You assaulted the victim (an assault is the intentional or reckless application of force to the person of another or any act which intentionally or recklessly causes another person to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence, including words, or); and
- As a consequence of that assault, the victim suffered actual bodily harm (the injury need not be permanent but must be more than merely transient and trifling. Bruising and cuts have been held to be actual bodily harm).
- The victim was a police officer, other peace officer, customs house officer, sheriff’s officer, prison officer or bailiff; and
- The assault occurred while the victim was acting in the execution of his/her duty. However, it is not necessary to prove that you knew that the victim was an officer on duty. Further, an officer not acting within his formal work hours can be acting in the execution of his duty if the police officer’s conduct is connected with his functions as a police officer and he does not do anything outside the ambit of his duty.
Recklessness in terms of assault is established where the accused foresees the likelihood of inflicting injury or fear, and ignores the risk.
If the police are able to prove the above elements beyond reasonable doubt, you will still be found not guilty if any of the following defences can be established:
Contact our offices in Sydney, Parramatta, Blacktown or Redfern to organise a time for one of our criminal lawyers to advise you of your prospects of successfully defending the charge of Assaulting a police officer occasioning actual bodily harm.
If you agree that you have committed the offence (and the police are able to prove so), it is best to plead guilty as you will normally receive a discount on sentence and it will demonstrate remorse and contrition. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to less serious facts or even a less serious charge.
In sentencing for Assaulting a police officer occasioning actual bodily harm a court will look at the degree of violence involved as well as the seriousness of the injury in determining the objective seriousness of the assault.
An offence of Assaulting a police officer occasioning actual bodily harm pursuant to section 60 of the Crimes Act carries a maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment in the District Court and 2 years imprisonment if the matter is dealt with in the Local Court. However, these maximum penalties are typically reserved for the worst offenders. Assaulting a police officer occasioning actual bodily harm has a standard non parole period of 3 years and is a serious criminal offence. If you are charged with Assaulting a police officer occasioning actual bodily harm you should contact our office immediately.
Penalties that a court can impose in NSW are:
- Section 10 – No conviction recorded
- Section 9 – Good behaviour bond
- Community service order
- Section 12 – Suspended sentence
- Intensive correction order
- Home detention
- Intensive correction orders
- Full time imprisonment
AC Law Group represented a client charged with kicking a police officer in the face and breaking the police officer’s nose. The assault occurred while the undercover police officer attempted to arrest a friend of the client. Our solicitor defended the charge on the basis of self-defence in that our client did not know the victim was a police officer and thought his friend was being assaulted. It was argued the police had been heavy handed and the force of the kick had not been designed to injure but rather prevent the assault our client perceived to be happening from continuing. The prosecution could not disprove self-defence beyond reasonable doubt and our client was found not guilty.